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For other universities with a similar name, see Northwestern University (disambiguation).
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Motto (none)
Established 1884
Type Public, Co-ed
Chancellor Dr. Randall J. Webb
Location Natchitoches, Louisiana
Sports teams Demons
Colors Purple & White         
Mascot Demons

Northwestern State University (NSU) is a four-year public university primarily situated in Natchitoches, Louisiana, with a nursing campus in Shreveport and general campuses in Leesville/Fort Polk and Alexandria. It is a part of the University of Louisiana System.

Main entrance to Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana
The Friedman Student Union Building is named for the late Louisiana State Senator Sylvan Friedman of Natchitoches.
The NSU Business Building
Fournet Hall at NSU is the center of instruction in chemistry and physics.
Culinary Arts Building at NSU
John S. Kyser Hall, named for the NSU president from 1953-1966, houses a variety of academic programs, including history, mathematics, and journalism.
Williamson Hall houses the NSU engineering program.
NSU Student Recreation Center
The three columns of Northwestern State University

NSU was founded in 1884 as the Louisiana State Normal School to train teachers. NSU was the first school in Louisiana to offer degree programs in nursing and business education. It gained university status in 1970 during the administration of President Arnold R. Kilpatrick, a Northwestern alumnus who served from 1966-1978.

NSU was one of the first six colleges to enter into NASA's Joint Venture Program ("JOVE"). Students worked with NASA scientists to help analyze data and do research for the 1996 Space Shuttle Columbia shuttle mission.

NSU also hosts Louisiana's designated honors college in the liberal arts and sciences, called the Louisiana Scholars' College. The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, a state supported residential high school for sophomores, juniors and seniors, is also located on the campus. It was a brainchild of former State Representative Jimmy D. Long of Natchitoches, who also attended NSU.

NSU currently offers more than 50 degree programs and complete accreditation of all of its accreditable degree programs. Fall 2005 total enrollment was 9,847, a decline from Fall 2004's record enrollment of 10,546 that university administrators said was due to the application and enforcement of new admissions standards[1]. NSU also claims more than 70,000 alumni.



Northwestern State University stands on ground that has been dedicated to learning for well over a hundred years. Prior to the American Civil War, a portion of the present campus was the property of the Bullard family of Natchitoches. As early as 1856, the Bullard mansion was in use as a convent by the Religious Society of the Sacred Heart. The following year a school building was erected at the convent and in 1884 the town and parish of Natchitoches purchased the property. Three of the four great white columns that once supported the east gable of the mansion still stand on “The Hill” and serve as the unofficial symbols of the university. The campus, developed upon rolling hills and high river bottomland, is acknowledged to be one of the most spacious and attractive in the South. The natural beauty of the site drew people to it even in prehistoric times. Long the home of a major Indian tribe for which it was named, the French fortified Natchitoches in 1714 as an outpost of their New World Empire facing Spanish Texas to the west.

In 1884, the state Legislature by Act 51 created the Louisiana State Normal School for the preparation of teachers. Shortly after, a member of the Legislature, Leopold Caspari, offered the convent site as a campus for the school with the anticipated approval of the citizens of Natchitoches. The offer was accepted, and from 1885 to 1918 the Normal School offered two years of study for the training of teachers. Baccalaureate programs were inaugurated, and the State Constitution, adopted in 1921, changed the name of the school to Louisiana State Normal College. The resources and curricula of “Normal” grew steadily to meet the increasingly diverse requirements of Louisiana’s expanding population. In 1944, the institution’s excellent service in its broader role was accorded formal recognition by Act 326 of the Legislature, which changed its name to Northwestern State College of Louisiana.

Northwestern maintained and strengthened its long tradition of leadership in public service and academic endeavor and became, in 1954, the first college under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana State Board of Education to offer the Master’s degree. The Specialist in Education degree was first offered in 1966 and the Doctor of Philosophy in Education degrees were authorized in 1967. On June 18, 1970, Governor John J. McKeithen signed a legislative act that brought the old campus its greatest distinction, changing its title to Northwestern State University of Louisiana. In 1980, the old campus quadrangle where the columns stand was entered into the National Register of Historic Places under the title “Normal Hill Historic District.”

Although primarily a regional institution, Northwestern also offers an opportunity for education at other satellite locations, including Leesville, Shreveport, and Alexandria. In addition to academics, these centers are also developing student life programs. The Nursing Education Center, located in Shreveport, provides the educational environment for nursing majors enrolled in clinical courses as well as general education courses. The Center houses departments administering masters, baccalaureate and associate degree programs. The campus includes state-of-the-art academic facilities, office space for faculty and staff, a bookstore, and facilities for activities and organizations. Excerpt from University Student Handbook

A.A. Fredericks was president of NSU from 1934-1941. He was later a member of the Louisiana State Senate and the private secretary on two occasions to Governor Earl Kemp Long. Fredericks obtained his teaching credentials from Northwestern "Normal" in 1912. The A.A. Fredericks Auditorium on campus commemorates his memory.

Eugene P. Watson of Natchitoches, for whom the NSU library is named, was head librarian and professor of library science from 1940 until his death in 1964. He founded Alpha Beta Alpha, the national library science fraternity. The group held its first biennial convention on the NSU campus in 1952.

The centennial history of NSU (1884-1984) was published by the NSU Press in 1985 by the historian Marietta LeBreton, who taught forty-five years at the institution, from 1963 until her sudden death in 2009.


The Legend of Isabella

Isabella was a young French maiden, renowned for her beauty, who once lived in the original Bullard mansion after the Bullards were gone. The young lady had many suitors but preferred the company of a young man from the East, sent to Louisiana on business. They fell in love and were to be married. Shortly before the wedding date arrived, the young man was killed in a duel. Legend has it that the duel concerned a dispute over another woman.

Isabella, overcome by grief, became a nun, and the French maiden’s beauty wasted away through constant mourning of her intended. Everyone believed she had gone mad from grief and mourning. One stormy night she ended her mourning by plunging a dagger into her heart. Soon after she was found dead in her room, with a bloody handprint on the wall.

Her spirit roamed Bullard mansion until it was torn down. Since then she has roamed various buildings on campus. She lived in East Hall until it was torn down in 1926. This was evidenced by the eyewitness accounts of girls who lived in East Hall. From there, Isabella's spirit moved to the Music Hall and resided there until 1948 then that building was also torn down. Just before the Music Hall was dismantled, a group of young men, dressed in sheets, coaxed Isabella from the doomed building.

From there she wandered aimlessly around campus from building to building (including East Varnado) for almost three years, until, becoming weary, she chose Caldwell Hall as her next residence. Speculation has it that Caldwell was chosen because of its close proximity to the original Bullard dwelling. According to newspaper articles, the official date of the move was January 15, 1949. Reportedly a letter from the ghost was found on the steps of Caldwell along with a few drops of blood.

Isabella's current residence is the Old Women’s Gym located on College Avenue beside Varnado Hall. When Caldwell Hall burned in October 1982, a group of 750 students gathered and performed a ceremony on Halloween night that aided Isabella in her transition to her present location.

Vic the Demon

On November 8, 1922, by proclamation of President V. L. Roy and Coach H. Lee Prather, all athletic teams became known as the Demons. The name was decided upon by a contest open to all students with a grand prize of $10. A committee was appointed by the President to narrow down the names submitted by the student body. The final selection was decided by a vote of the students. The two most popular choices were Braves and Demons. Among other names submitted by students were Sharks, Daredevils, Musketeers, Pelicans, Prather’s Ground Hogs, Bloodhounds, Cyclops and Serpents. The official winners were Aileen Ritter and Truett Scarborough.

On September 22, 1984, the Demon received his official given name by means of another contest sponsored by the Athletic Department. The contest was open to faculty, staff, and students. The objective: to find a name for the Demon. Over 300 entries were submitted to the committee. The grand prize was an all expense paid weekend at the Louisiana State Fair Classic. Ray Carney, an alumnus of the university, was the official winner with "Vic," which is short for "Victory".

Don't Go in the Water

In recent years, Chaplin's Lake, which is an oxbow of the Red River, has been home to sporadic anaconda or python encounters. It has been surmised the reptiles might have been pets kept by students in the adjacent fraternity house or Natchitoches residents living on the other side of the lake. Doubt has also been expressed that these sightings might be alcohol-fueled figments of the student population's imagination. It has been speculated that the sightings might actually be misidentified alligator or nutria. The sightings have failed to deter the university rowing team from using the lake. However, use by the general student population has declined in recent years.

Jim Croce

Singer-songwriter Jim Croce died in a plane crash hours after finishing a 1973 concert on the NSU campus.

Student media

Its student-run weekly newspaper, The Current Sauce, was founded in 1914. Its annual student-run yearbook is called The Potpourri. There is also a student-run radio station, KNWD "The Demon" 91.7FM, and a faculty-administrated and student-operated local television station, NSU22, on which can be found daily student-produced newscasts.

NSU's literary magazine is called The Argus. It is student-run and published during the spring semester. The magazine content is provided by competitions in various fields of writing and artwork.


Greek life


National Panhellenic Conference Affiliates

National Pan-Hellenic Council Affiliates

Music Sororities


National Pan-Hellenic Council Affiliates

North-American Interfraternity Conference Affiliates

Music Fraternities


Lady of the Bracelet pageant

The Lady of the Bracelet pageant (commonly referred to as LOB) is a long-standing competition which scholarships are awarded to female students. The first place winner of the pageant is awarded the title of "Lady of the Bracelet" for one year.

The program is under the direction of the Director of Student Activities and the Assistant Director of Student Activities of Northwestern State University. Contestants compete in several categories including interview, evening wear, and swimsuit competition. In addition to being bestowed the title of "Lady of the Bracelet" for the following year, the first place contestant receives a full scholarship and goes on to compete in the Miss Louisiana pageant, which can ultimately result in a berth to the Miss America pageant. It is traditionally held during on the first Friday in February.

In the early 1920s, the Potpourri, Northwestern’s yearbook, sponsored the first beauty pageant held on the university campus. The contestants were selected from photographs submitted to well-known producers for judgment and were chosen for their charm and beauty. In 1958, Miss Kahne Dipola was crowned the first Miss Lady of the Bracelet and she received a gold bracelet to wear when she represented the university in public. Over the years, the bracelet has been passed down to each holder of the title.

Through the efforts of Mr. Robert W. Wilson, Sr., the Student Union Governing Board purchased the first franchise from the Miss Louisiana Pageant in 1971, enabling Northwestern’s Lady of the Bracelet to enter the state contest. The Student Activities Board, formerly the Student Union Governing Board, has continued the tradition of sponsoring the Lady of the Bracelet Pageant for the enjoyment of the Northwestern community. The Lady of the Bracelet pageant has gained state recognition for production, scholarship, and quality of contestants.

The current Lady of the Bracelet is Brittany Pippin.

ROTC Program

With an agreement signed between Northwestern State College and the Department of the United States Army, an anti-aircraft field artillery unit of the Reserve Officers Training Corps was established in the fall of 1950. In August 1950, the building to house the ROTC unit was authorized. The new military science program, under President Prather, enrolled its first students in the fall of 1950 with one officer and five enlisted men on the staff. By the end of the 1950-51 academic year 220 men had selected military training and the future of the program looked promising. In 1965, NSC under President Kyser signed an agreement with the department of Army stating that the Military Science Senior ROTC program would be provided with a university secretary, armory, and utilities. The NSU ROTC Department and the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana mutually support Cadet Command by identifying quality soldiers with officer potential and in assisting them in transition from active duty under the college ROTC Green to Gold program. The NSU ROTC Demon Battalion has commissioned nearly 1000 Second Lieutenants in to the United States Armed Services. Quite a few graduates have become distinguished Army Officers, including several General Officers. A Hall of Fame was begun in 1983. Portraits and biographies of the Hall of Fame members are on permanent display in the ROTC office foyer . NSU ROTC cadets have been selected to attend specialty schools in Germany and at West Point. Cadets have also participated in ceremonies commemorating the Bataan March in New Mexico, and supporting the Habitat for Humanity and Loggers Conventions. During the past two years, several renovation projects have been completed. The cadets have been able to enjoy a TV lounge, kitchen area and game room to include a billiards, ping pong and foosball. Notably, five NSU ROTC commissioned officers have been inducted into NSU’s highest Hall of Distinction, the Long Purple Line.

Notable alumni

Jesse L. Boucher (1912-2004), Class of 1935, real estate developer and former mayor of Springhill, Louisiana

Henry Burns, bakery owner and Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Bossier Parish, obtained his bachelor of arts degree in upper elementary education from Northwestern.

Robert DeBlieux (1933-2010), was an historical preservationist who developed the Natchitoches Historic District and served as mayor from 1976-1980

Virginia deGravelles, Louisiana Republican national committeewoman from 1964-1968, began her studies at Northwestern in 1931 but graduated from Louisiana State University.

The historian Henry C. Dethloff, author of more than two dozen books on American business, the space program, agriculture, petroleum drilling, and the history of Texas A&M University obtained his Master of Arts degree from Northwestern in 1960.

Former Louisiana Lieutenant Governor and Education Superintendent William J. "Bill" Dodd graduated from then Louisiana Normal in 1934, the year that A.A. Fredericks became the president.

James R. Fannin, a Louisiana state representative from Jackson, Bienville, Ouachita, and Winn parishes, began his studies at NSU in agriculture education but graduated in that same field from Louisiana Tech University.

Paul Lee Foshee, Sr., retired crop duster who served in both houses of the Louisiana legislature, the House from 1960-1964 and the state Senate from 1972-1976

John B. Fournet, the Speaker of the Louisiana House during the Huey Pierce Long, Jr., impeachment case of 1929 and later lieutenant governor and associate and Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, received his teaching degree from Northwestern in 1915.

Another Northwestern alumnus is former Elections Commissioner and convicted felon Jerry Marston Fowler, a Coushatta native.

A.A. Fredericks, former NSU president and a state legislator, procured his teaching credentials from NSU in 1912. The A.A. Fredericks Auditorium is named in his honor.

NSU alumnus Dennis Freeman (1940-2007) served as mayor of nearby Logansport from 1984 until his death. He was credit with securing a new bridge over the Sabine River to connect Louisiana and Texas

Former State Senator Donald G. Kelly is an NSU alumnus. He then procured his law degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Still another political figure who graduated from NSU is State Senator Gerald Long, a Republican member of the Long political dynasty.

U.S. Representative and State Senator Speedy O. Long (1928-2006) graduated with his bachelors degree in history from NSU in 1951. He later procured his law degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Mr. Long was inducted posthumously into Northwestern State University's "Long Purple Line" on October 24, 2008. Northwestern State University established The Long Purple Line in 1990 to provide recognition and appreciation to former N.S.U. students whose career accomplishments or service to their fellow man have enhanced the reputation of the university.

Louisiana State Senator Joe McPherson, who has represents Rapides Parish from 1984-1996 and again since 2000, graduated from NSU.

Randy Moffett, president of the University of Louisiana System (ULS) and formerly president of Southeastern Louisiana University received his master's degree from Northwestern State University of Louisiana.[2]

Sammy Joe Odom (1941-2001), a football star at NSU in 1962 and 1963, later played with the Houston Oilers. At the time of his death, he was the administrator of the De Soto Parish Police Jury. He was among the 100 Top Football Players at NSU, as announced in July 2007 as part of the centennial celebration of the football team.

Ed Orgeron played football at Northwestern State University after transferring from Louisiana State University in 1978. He later went on to be on coaching staffs at Northwestern State University, McNeese State University, University of Arkansas, University of Miami, Nicholls State University, Syracuse University, The University of Southern California, The University of Mississippi, and the New Orleans Saints. As of 2009 he is the Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Line Coach for the Tennessee Volunteers and also serves as the recruiting co-ordinator.

Morgan D. Peoples, the Louisiana historian who co-authored with Michal Kurtz a definitive study of Governor Earl Kemp Long, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from NSU, and later taught for twenty years at Louisiana Tech University.

Joe R. Salter, former Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Sabine Parish and current lobbyist for the state Department of Education, graduated from NSU in 1965 and later procured a master's degree from the institution.

NSU alumnus W. Ray Scott served as mayor of Natchitoches from 1960-1976 and worked to procure university status and expanded facilities for the institution.

Scott's successor as mayor, Robert DeBlieux, graduated with his bachelor's degree in history from NSU and is known primarily as a historical preservationist for downtown Natchitoches and the Cane River area.

Eddy Shell (1937-2008) was a founding faculty member of Bossier Parish Community College and served on the Bossier Parish Police Jury from 1992 until his death of cancer. He pursued graduate studies at Northwestern.

Jane H. Smith is the first woman to have served as a principal, school superintendent, and a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Bossier Parish. A Sabine Parish native, she received bachelor's and master's degrees in education from NSU.

Kenneth Michael "Mike" Smith, a former state senator (1996-2008) graduated from NSU in agribusiness in 1970. He is co-owner of P.K. Smith Motors in Winnfield.[3]

Victor T. "Vic" Stelly (born 1941), former Republican state representative from Calcasieu Parish and author of the Stelly Plan, received his Bachelor of Science in education from NSU in 1962.[4]

Thomas Taylor Townsend, state representative from Natchitoches Parish from 2000-2008, received a Bachelor of Science degree from NSU.

William Stewart Walker was a United States Army officer during World War II and a Republican candidate for the United States House of Representatives in 1964. He also taught military science at Northwestern during the early 1960s.

Successful athletic alumni are Miles Durham, Terrance McGee, David Pittman, Craig Nall, LeMark Carter, Kenta Bell, Bobby Hebert, Brian Brown, Brian Lawrence, and Latrell Frederick


External links


  1. ^
  2. ^ Moffett biosketch on the ULS web site.
  3. ^ "Tom Kelly, "New trade school OK’d in Winn: 'Gold Star' in career, says retiring State Senator Mike Smith"". Retrieved October 29, 2009. 
  4. ^ "House District 35", Louisiana Encyclopedia (1999)

Coordinates: 31°45′00″N 93°05′47″W / 31.750038°N 93.096394°W / 31.750038; -93.096394


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